GRACE IN TIMES OF NEED.
There is a grace that must come with aging. After all, we are going to lose our friends, whether we like it or not, so we had better develop some grace, tact and dignity or we are going to be miserable and bitter. Hopefully I'd developed some of these traits before this.
The truth is that I love all beings. It is a gift bestowed on me at birth. Well, sometimes a gift...sometimes a burden. My lot in life has been to learn how to carry it. If you look at the returning lessons of your life you will see that there are only a few lessons that keep returning to you, round and round like a spiral. This is a life secret that my friend Mary Faith Rhodes shared with me many years ago, in a passing conversation, and indeed, it has turned out to be true. I'm grateful to her for it, because once known, I began to watch and the lessons became clearer.
In these few days, a good old friend of mine is dying. We hadn't had contact until through the wonders of facebook, I found him and his wife. They were shaping influences in my young adult years. They have continued to be influential in the lives of many and his dying is a public event thanks to his incredibly spiritual and poetic wife. I have the good fortune to witness it and be back in their lives in this manner. They are teaching me to face my fear of my grief and to love them right through the dying.
This is not my first death in my dawning elder years. There was another just a month ago, and several in the past few years. My aging is dragging me into facing my worst fear -- loss. I don't fear my own death, because I have no fear of the beyond. It represents peace to me. No, my fears are fears of living: pain, loss, abandonment. So often I have left people when they needed me most. Well, not exactly LEFT them, but withdrawn or been less than fully present.
How about you? Are you fully present in your daily relationships? Do you know how to set boundaries to preserve your sanity but be there for your loved ones? Do you know how to separate who is a loved one and who is an "acquaintance?" Being a quintessential observer of life has helped me shape the lines for myself: Who can I help and who can I not? What exactly is helpful? How do I communicate my own needs directly?
This business of living a peaceful life involves communication, observation and decisionmaking. And listening, always listening, inside and out.